May 18, 2009

Ground Zero

> — Vociferous @ 2:03 am

A closer look at the city of New Mombasa…



  1. the new setting looks amazing, cannot wait to play it. great article btw.

    Comment by azeem — May 18, 2009 @ 7:19 am

  2. Great Article. It just renewed my hype for ODST. My idea is that the climax of the game will occur at the base of the orbital elevator, and your ODST (And squad, maybe.) must escape. Or, the tether falls while the ODST’s are inside, and our hero(‘s) meets his(there) end.

    Comment by Arbiduck — May 18, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  3. Thanks for giving me something to read. 🙂 One idea that I thought up while reading this article is that there could be sections of the city and each section acts like a level. You would then travel between the sections using public transportation or by a pelican that would come and pick you up.This would solve the problem of thrying to load an entire city at one time. It was a great article by the way.

    Comment by Yay295 — May 18, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  4. Great work! Nice to know that someone out there can decipher (even if only theorise) Bungie’s cryptic clues and messages. The maps in particular are incredible, especially the overlay of modern Mombassa and ‘Halo Mombassa’.

    A thought on Maddie. I seem to remember from the Halo Graphic Novel, one of the stories centred around a journalist (I believe you’ve done a piece on it) and he gave a young girl his laptop with some important information on it. Could this not be Maddie, and the reason for the Covenants landing at Mombassa?

    Just a thought, maybe you can expand on it better!

    Thanks for another interesting piece.

    Comment by Greasea — May 18, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

  5. About the space elevator – I think one of the reasons it’s placed in New Mombasa is the fact it’s very close to the equator. Since earth’s spin around its axis is most noticable there it is also the most sound place to anchor a the elevator since the spin together with the centripetal force will make it possible to reach an equilibrium.

    Comment by Karl — May 19, 2009 @ 5:23 am

  6. Great articl, as always. However, one litte detail bothers me. I know i’m being picky but, well, thats ho i am. You say the space teether collapses beacause of the slipspace jump the prophet of Regret made. However, there is an ingame dialog in Halo 3 (Tsavo Highway level, as you get out of the cavern, go under the space elevator ring, park at the cliff), during whitch the a marine says something along the line of “it (the space elevator) collapsed when they glassed the city” , indicating it still stood untill Truth came along and dug a great hole over the whole place, glassing the city in the process.

    Comment by Civerus — May 19, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  7. Great article!

    A few thoughts:

    – Since Master Chief will potentially be in the city just before the time of its destruction, could there be either a sighting or a link-up at some point? (A-la the Wraith battle in Halo 2 Metropolis)

    – Who is Maddie? Just a quick segment on that: There seems to be some specualtion on this subject, from a washed-out Spartan 2, to the little girl from HGN mentioned above. By the way, has Bungie ever said one way or the other whether the characters from ilovebees could be included in canon? It would be awesome if Maddie was one of the Spartan 1.5s or knew their whereabouts. Or is Superintendent going rampant? (unlikely due to the fact it is a dumb-AI)

    – Just a side note: The modern map of Mombasa shows a very centrally-located Haile Sellasie Avenue, Sellassie of course being the Ethopian king who withstood the Italians in World War II, in a losing battle similar to the one humans face against the Covenant.

    Comment by Tenth Mountain — May 19, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  8. Excellent work! That’s a pretty amazing (and believable) theory!

    I also have a theory for this Maddie character and a motive for the Rookie to visit the space tehter.

    Theory: After Regret’s ship jumps, the citizens of New Mombasa are evacuating via the space tether (similar to what was seen in the events of Contact Harvest). Maddie is somehow important to the Rookie and he is trying to rendezvous with her before she evacuates. Either that or Maddie could be the AI responsible for the operation of the space tether and getting said citizens off the planet.

    That may be extremely far-fetched but it is, after all, a theory.


    Comment by CaneCutter — May 19, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

  9. Tenth Mountain, the ODSTs drop into the city right as the slipspace event occurs, which lasted for only a few brief seconds. The Chief followed Regret into that rupture – so there’s no way that that ODSTs could run into him after they land.

    Comment by Cocopjojo — May 19, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  10. I’m thinking “Hub world” is like the wasteland from Fallout 3, albeit smaller. Anyone who has played that game will know what I mean. The game is one giant open map, with access to smaller maps and scenarios scattered around it. The wheel and spoke analogy is a good one.

    Comment by WolfSarge — May 20, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  11. Another thing: We’ve seen that the rookie is not attached to a large ODST unit, like a company or battalion based on a frigate or cruiser, but rather a squad based on a prowler craft, led by an experienced officer and managed by an ONI spook. (this is from some cryptic Bungie Weekend Updates from a long time back)

    Could this be ONI Recon 111? (Remember the game’s original title and that line of dialogue from Tsavo Highway?)

    Comment by WolfSarge — May 20, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  12. I loved your article.

    I hadn’t realized that Mombassa was so far south down the coast of Africa. If so, there’s something of a flaw in Bungie’s design. Space elevators must be placed as close to the equator as possible, since the centripetal force of the Earth’s rotation will drive it out at an angle anywhere else on the planet. To function, New Mombassa’s cable would have to be placed at an angle that no real engineer would want to deal with.

    Also, if we can assume that the explosion caused by the slipspace jump is what caused the tether to fall, then we have another scientific error. While a perfect tether would be carefully balanced so that the weight of the massive cable would be countered by the centripetal force exerted on the tether, so that sum force exerted on the structure’s base would be minimal, there would still be an imbalance, some net upwards force so that the tether would be kept straight by the Earth’s rotation. If so, then an explosion which damaged the base of the tether would not cause the cable to fall over and impact with the ground (as we see in Halo 3), but instead would cause the entire cable to shoot up, out into space!

    Then again, slipspace is impossible. Mankind (and other species) must have figured out how to bend the laws of physics by this point! Never mind, Bungie, it’s all good. 🙂

    Comment by Argus — May 21, 2009 @ 12:09 pm

  13. Ooooh, the tether IS in Kenya! Never mind on my first point then. Bravo, Bungie.

    Comment by Argus — May 21, 2009 @ 12:10 pm

  14. halo:reach announced at E3. Only a trailer is available right now. Check it out!

    Comment by Jack — June 1, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  15. as always an amazing article!

    just one comment though about the location of the space elevator and why it is in Mombasa. i have read in numerous books that if and when a space elevator is to be constructed, due to the earths rotation, the elevator must be built on or close to the equator. The reason is to do with the movement of the elevator and the stress put upon the tether, i believe the least amount of stress would be if it was built around the equator. the only thing is Mombasa is a little north of the equator it actually goes through Tanzania which is south of Mombasa, anyway I believe it is still a plausible reason for the location chosen.

    Comment by ahsim ahmed — June 2, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  16. Very well written, very analitical as always.

    Just thought I’d point out that in one picture you have labelled “Artificial Canal,” whilst in the other it reads “Artificial Channel.”

    No big deal, but I know that you like to get things as precise as possible.

    Comment by TheBigJimboner — June 9, 2009 @ 10:33 am

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